Chief Education Officer, Laurie King (FP)

ConquerMaths Caribbean, an online mathematics programme, has come at the right time when Barbados is seeking to increase the number of its students sitting and passing Mathematics at the CSEC and CAPE levels.

Chief Education Officer, Laurie King, revealed this yesterday as the multi-media product was officially launched at St. Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary School.

Although stating that the numbers at CSEC level had been fairly consistent over the last five years, Mr. King stressed there was room for improvement. He pointed out that in 2007,??2,268 students sat Mathematics with a pass rate of 50.71 per cent; in 2008,??2,203 sat the exam with a pass rate of 59.42 per cent; in 2009, there were 2,236 students sitting with a 54.38 per cent pass rate; and in 2010, 2,087 students sat with a 55.92 per cent pass rate.

Recalling that last year some 2,067 students sat with a pass rate of 48.28 per cent the senior official said; "Our aim is to increase the number of students taking the exam by at least 50 per cent and to increase the pass rates to over 90 per cent over the next five years.

"It is important that we realise this objective and even go beyond since Mathematics is a discipline which impacts positively on the ability of our population to think critically and develop problem solving skills."

He praised the efforts of Chief Executive Officer of ConquerMaths Caribbean, Winston Cumberbatch, for his interest in developing the subject regionally and his recognition of "the critical role that technology can play in arousing and sustaining student interest".

While outlining some attributes of ConquerMaths, Mr. King said it promoted "the mastering of a range of mathematical skills which offered fun-filled practical exercises, covering most topics".?? He deemed this "a unique feature of the multi-media package" and told parents they could feel satisfied "that by accessing ConquerMaths their children would be revising and practising a large portion of their Maths syllabus."

Acknowledging that many homes had access to computers, Mr. King said: "We have to ensure that we present to our students, options that will allow them to complete homework assignments and to work at their own pace.??

"The ???digital kids’ are more likely to be motivated to find solutions to problems if they are given opportunities to construct knowledge under the guidance of the teacher utilising a wide range of interactive resources."

With the programme each student, regardless of school, age or class has access to all lessons, from reception through to Common Entrance, CXC and CAPE, there is the opportunity to enter at any point and move freely forward or backward as knowledge and ability is established.????

To date, 3,000 students from schools across the island have enrolled in the programme. While St. Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary was among the first to enrol. Others who can boast of bulk enrolment include Garrison Secondary, Alexandra, the Barbados Seventh Day Adventist Secondary and Coleridge and Parry.


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